Sunday, October 28, 2012

What is Lordship Salvation?

I was thinking about doing a post about the practical concerns about Lordship Salvation, but Lou has reposted an older article on a very similar topic. So I'll just link to his In Defense of the Gospel blog post instead. :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Debater's Potter - Part 14 - Chapter 9

Welcome again to this series in which I interact and respond to Dr. James R. White's The Potter's Freedom(TPF), which he intends as a defense of the Reformation (or his view of it anyway) and "the" rebuttal of Dr. Norman Geisler's Chosen But Free(CBF). as a non-Calvinist Non-Arminian.

If you're just jumping in here please go back to The Introduction. Each of the articles are very long and so I won't have space to restate previous information. So, if you think I'm making a bold unsupported claim and you haven't read from the beginning, don't blame me! :)

This time we'll be looking at what appears to be Dr. White's strongest argument in all of TPF. So, let's just jump right in shall we?

Chapter 9 - Responding to CBF on Romans 9

"This tremendous passage of Scripture is so clear, so strong, that it truly does speak for itself. The student of Scripture that wishes a full discussion of the passage is directed to John Piper's The Justification of God. Before examining Dr. Geisler's comments, a brief exegesis of the passage will be offered."
If this passage of Scripture so clearly presented Calvinism then Dr. White's book would surely be superfluous, and he wouldn't have to suggest that the "student of Scripture" go get John Piper's book. Surely, if the passage is clear the "student of Scripture" ought to be be able to understand it without the help of White, Piper or anyone else. 

Anytime we make an assumption about Scripture we undermine our ability to understand it. The assumption that will drive Dr. White's interpretation of Romans 9 throughout this chapter of TPF is stated in the second paragraph:

"This portion of Paul's reasoned, organized argument regarding the nature of salvation..." 
Is the letter to the Romans really an argument regarding the nature of Salvation? I would make the argument that it is a letter explaining, contrasting, and defending the righteousness of God. We are shown to not have it, to be unable to attain it, that it is freely given to those who believe, that we cannot maintain it, that it is not about fleshy obedience, that God conforms us to it through suffering, that it does not fail because God keeps His promises, that we are to be willingly conformed to it, that we are trust in it as we live in this world system, that we are to accept the weaker Brethren because in it God has accepted even them, we are to entrust well being and our salvation to God because of it. The entire letter is about God's righteousness, not our salvation. Our salvation is a byproduct of His righteousness, and is therefore entirely dependent on it. That's Paul's argument in Romans; in short anyway.  

For an in depth study of Romans listen to Dr. Andy Woods' sermon series "Divine Righteousness Revealed."  

Dr. White's assumption about what Romans is about is somewhat understandable. After-all Paul does explain a lot about salvation in Romans. His next assumption however is entirely different. I don't know how he could defend it. 

"Surely Paul had heard this many times in his public ministry: 'If this gospel message you proclaim, Paul, is so wonderful, why is it that only a small number of Jews embrace it, while the majority of the covenant people reject it? Are not your main opponents the Jews, to whom the promises were made? Are you not just a renegade Jew who has left the faith?' Such accusations must have been common place in the public disputations with the Jews. And upon speaking of God's work of predestining, calling, justifying, and glorifying, one can just hear these objections growing in volume. 'Oh come now, Paul, if God is so sovereign and powerful, then why do His very people, the Jews, by and large reject Christ?' It is to this issue that Paul now turns." 
Surely? Must have been? One can just hear these objections? Dr. White invents these objections and intends on painting Paul's writing as a supposed answer to them. The unsuspecting reader has just been led to make a completely unsupportable assumption about the Text, and will be led down the garden path unless someone steps in to protect them. 

Before we move on please go back and read these assumed objections. If Paul had just explained that God selects who will believe and who will not believe - as Dr. White teaches - does it make sense to object to such a teaching with the argument that it can't be true because the Jews don't believe? According to Dr. White this objection was answered by Jesus in John 6, and Paul in Romans 8. Why would Paul "now turn to" an argument that had he had supposedly answered just a few verses before, and to which the Lord had supposedly answered as well. What else do these passages have in common? Dr. White says that each of them are so clear that they speak for themselves. Funny that Paul would have to repeat their supposed arguments then isn't it? 

Writing of Rom 9:1-5 Dr. White states:

"It should be noted that this immediately raises an important point: Paul is speaking of individual salvation. It makes no sense to say "I could wish myself were accursed for the sake of the nation of Israel so that it might be returned to a position of receiving national privileges and favor."
Throughout this chapter Dr. White finds ways to insert, or finds instances of, the idea of "individuals" because he seems to think that makes the chapter about individual Salvation. But here are just a few questions I would like to ask the Doctor to answer. 

If Paul is speaking of individuals then: How does the following "pertain" to individuals:  "the adoption", "the glory",  "the giving of the Law", "the service of God", "the promises", and "from whom Christ came."  None of these things pertain to individuals, but the Nation of Israel. Christ most certainly did not "come from" the supposed individuals Dr. White claims he is writing about who were not then saved. Perhaps Paul is writing about Mary and Joseph? His Grand Parents perhaps? This is not "exegesis" it is eisegesis to the extreme.

White states that Rom 9:6 is "vitally important and provides the key to one of the great controversies in interpretation of the rest of the Chapter." He then goes on to tell us that Paul's "Ministry had often been charged with teaching a doctrine that made it appear as if the word of God had failed." Yet he doesn't supply any reference to these supposed charges. It's interesting that at the start of the chapter Dr. White used the phrases "surely" and "must have been" but as he gains momentum he presents what he previously postulated as fact.

Shockingly Dr. White then makes a statement I can agree with! He notes that Paul's answer is that God has not failed to fulfill His promises because not everyone born into the Nation of Israel is actually of Israel. Of course I won't be agreeing with how he builds on this fact, but it is simply a fact stated in Rom 9:6.

He continues:

"But the key is this: Paul is not talking about nations and he is talking about God's sovereign election in salvation, for it was God's right and freedom to limit His promises to the children of promise, and not to anyone else."
Did God limit salvation to the children of promise? Those who were born through Isaac? Is Paul in Rom 9:7 or the LORD God in Gen 21:12 talking about saving individuals? Well Gen 17:23-25 seems very strange if Salvation was not available to Ishmael and his descendants doesn't it? Why is Abraham circumcising those who may have no part with God? Wouldn't that be like a Pastor baptizing everyone at the local whore house? The passage is talking about bringing honor, service, covenants and dealings with God to the one nation and not the other.

While Paul's actual point is about Isaac's sons, Esau and Jacob but Dr. White's use of Rom 9:7 would require that salvation is not available outside of the descendants of Isaac. Dr. White will follow Paul's lead and further limit the group being talked about to a particular portion of Isaac's descendants. Yet his employment will not match Paul's. So we must watch how his argument fails him before we even get to Jacob who God called Israel.

The LORD God says that while His promise other promise is about Isaac He will make a nation out of the son Ishmael the son of the bondwoman because he is still the son of Abraham. In fact Ishmael was a gift from God to Hagar because He had heard her affliction. Gen 16:11 

What is the LORD God talking about with His "election" of some specific portion of those in Isaac and not those in Ishmael? Let's let Him speak.

Gen 17:19-22

19 Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.” 22 Then He finished talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.
God had "blessed" Ishmael, indeed God fulfilled His promise about Ishmael. Gen 25:12-18 It was just a different promise than God had made to Abraham about Isaac. This is all exceedingly difficult for Dr. White's argument.

Dr. White turns Romans 9:6-13 into two examples, but I believe Paul is making one singular argument. Of Rom 9:10-13 he writes:

"The declaration of 'God's purpose according to His choice' (or election) is the keystone of this section. Everything points to this one assertion. The pronouncement by God that the older would serve the younger was made on the basis of a choice by God (dare we say "free choice"?) that was made before their birth and before they could 'do' anything good or bad."
Dr. White quotes Paul but misses what Paul wrote. The choice was that the older brother would serve the younger. Not that the older brother would go to hell and the younger would go to heaven. Not that the older would not believe and the younger would. The choice was that God would honor the younger with the honor, duty, service and responsibilities of Firstborn even though he was not the first born. Not able to make a very convincing argument he quotes John Piper on the passage putting the emphasis on God's action in choosing. That it was not a reaction to anything but a "free" choice by God. Such is not under dispute in the slightest. Why do we need to read Piper on it?

White would have us to believe that this is talking about individual election to Salvation, and that it is not to do with nations and God's use of people groups for His own purposes. When God explained it to Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau, He said that she had two nations in her womb. Gen 25:21-28

White notes in passing:

"Much is made of the terms "loved" and "hated" here, and we will see how these terms are to be applied when responding to CBF's commentary" 
The LORD God explains Himself in Mal 1:2-3 but I believe the whole chapter is informative to our discussion. Read Mal 1:1-14 The Lord is magnified beyond the border of Israel! My Name shall be great among the nations! Read this chapter to find out why, and to get some sense of why Paul quotes this when explaining God's righteousness in not giving the promise to those who reject His Son.

Of Rom 9:14-16 White offers:

"Paul is ready with an Old Testament example to buttress his arguments: Exodus 33. This tremendous passage contains themes that find their full expression only in the New Testament's full revelation of the doctrines of God's free and sovereign grace." 
The mantra of the Jews complaining to and about Jesus throughout the evangelistic letters, Matthew, Mark, Luke & John is that God has chosen Israel that because they are born Jews they are good with God and don't need their sins washed away. They claimed they didn't need to repent, and didn't need to be born again. The constant complaint that we actually read in the Scripture about Paul's ministry is that he preached that you didn't need to follow the Law in order to be right with God, that in fact to try to follow the Law is a fleshy practice that denies faith in Christ. What is the consistent complaint that we actually read in Scripture? God only works with Israel, and within the confines of Israel's practice, therefore your message is false. This is one of the things that need to be answered by Paul in order to defend the righteousness of God.

If we read Exodus 33 to find out what Paul is quoting we find that Moses didn't know who he was going to lead. God wasn't going to tell him yet either. The focus wasn't to be on the people, but on God. Read Exodus 33:12-23. Paul's point? The same here. Israel is focusing on their bloodline, the people, not God. They are believing in their birth heritage and not in God's promise. God choose Jacob over Esau despite their birth heritage.  Moses was to focus on God's glory and God would have mercy on whom He would have mercy on. Mose's job was to do the work God had called Him to, and let God do His part. Again, this is not about personal salvation. This was actually about deliverance from the bondage of slavery for the Nation of Israel, and not about personal salvation. The Nation was delivered but many individuals perished in the wilderness after that deliverance. The most important part of this deliverance was not that the people were freed, but that they were used to demonstrate God's power, and give a pattern for the Christ in the Passover. This is about being used by God, not about being given salvation.

Ignoring what the passages are about Dr. White limits the discussion to his intended subject:

"It does not say, "I will have mercy on those who fulfill the conditions I have laid down as a prerequisite of my plan of salvation." 
Of course not Dr. White, that's not what the LORD is talking about with Moses at all. Dr. White lays it all out there though:
"This divine truth, so offensive to the natural man, could not find a clearer proclamation than Romans 9:16. We truly must ask, if this passage does not deny to the will of man the all-powerful position of final say in whether the entire work of the Triune God in salvation will succeed or fail, what passage possibly could? What stronger terms could be employed?"
There's a lot to respond to here. Dr. Geisler, whose work TPF is supposedly a rebuttal of, doesn't say that man has the "final say"; as has been clearly demonstrated from CBF. This passage isn't talking about God failing to or successfully saving people. It isn't even talking about personal salvation. If this passage is the strongest example of the theology then I humbly suggest that the theology, in that it is not found in this passage, is demonstrated as being false.

Dr. White then returns to his argument with regard to individual salvation:

"The fact that they are singular shows us again the personal nature of the passage. The interpretation that attempts to limit Romans 9 to "nations" cannot begin to explain how nations "will" or "run"
Dr. Geisler is not particularly strong on Romans 9. I am not going to lengthen this article to deal with his errors but I am going to respond to Dr. White from my point of view; which I believe will exonerate (in some regard) Dr. Geisler as well. Dr. White builds a straw-man and quickly knocks it down. "The interpretation that attempts to limit Romans 9 to "nations"..." I don't limit Rom 9 to nations, nor does Dr. Geisler. However, I do recognize that God is talking about nations and people groups throughout most of this chapter, and in the quotations that Paul uses. In some places there is talk of individuals, like what Paul is leading up to as he begins at Rom 9:16
Dr. White continues:

"Lest someone think, 'Well, yes, God shows mercy and initiates salvation, and only then does the will of man freely embrace it," as is argued constantly in CBF, Paul closes the door by giving his own interpretation of his argument the example of Pharaoh."
As has been demonstrated, this is not what is constantly argued in CBF.

Of Rom 9:17-18 Dr. White writes:

"It was God's intention to bring His wrath upon the Egyptians. God's actions were not 'forced' by the stubborn will of the Egyptian leader. God said He would harden Pharaoh's heart, and He did." 
Not too long ago I did a study here about the drawing of God, and included in that is an examination of Pharaoh's hardened heart. Who hardened it first? Why? Check out The Drawing of God. Back in 2009 I wrote a short article Pharaoh's Hardened Heart Didn't Start With God. In short, Pharaoh hardened his own heart first. Further, God was judging the Egyptians for what they did to Israel. 

No one is saying that God's actions were forced by Pharaoh. Who says this? Yet it is only an act of extreme eisegesis to say that God just picked Pharaoh at random to be hardened.

What must be noted as well is that God didn't raise up Pharaoh in order for him to go to Hell. He raised up Pharaoh to be USED in the purpose of demonstrating God's power; that's simply what the Text says.

Dr. White then repeats a puzzling backslide from his position about the Sovereignty of God. In Part 8 we read: 

"We dare not think that Joseph's brothers were forced against the desires of their hearts to commit the evil... They desired to do this: indeed if God had not intervened it is sure they would have killed him outright.... but God preserved Joseph's life..." 
Now in this chapter we read:
"Pharaoh was surely never forced to do anything sinful (indeed, God probably kept him from committing many a sinful deed.)"
What do you mean Pharaoh was never forced to do anything sinful? Don't you say that God decrees every event in His Creation? Don't you say that people cannot choose, or act in accordance with their own will but that God decrees everything? It is sad that even though Dr. White rightfully sees the glaring blaspheme of his doctrine he doesn't abandon it, but just tells "just so stories" to imagine away the obvious conclusion that if God were to decree, orchestrate and bring to pass every event in His Creation that He would have to be the author of sin. 

He continues about Pharaoh:

"But he is but a pot, a creature, not the Potter.... There is simply no other way to understand these words." 
Who then has the responsibility for the action? If Dr. White's argument is true is it not right to ask: Does my pot have the responsibility for my burned lap when I spill my tea?

In fact that is the very excuse that Paul's imagined objector responds with! For something has happened here that happens very often with Reformed Theology. Dr. White has inserted the Objector's theology into the Preacher's words and made a mess of the whole thing. See James 2 From the Text for another example.

Dr. White calls Rom 9:19-20 the crescendo of the passage. 

19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”
The excuse is "God made me this way!" How often have I heard that from Homosexuals as I have engaged in the work of Street Evangelism? Hundreds of times. But let's examine this for a second - Dr. White is saying EXACTLY THAT. He has been arguing throughout TPF and now also, that one cannot believe, cannot repent unless they have been born again first. God made them unable to believe. God made them unable to repent. God made them slaves to sin. Does that not give the person an excuse in direct opposition to Romans 1:20-19?

Here's Dr. White's response to this excuse:

" can God hold men accountable for their actions, for who resists His will? Paul's response is swift and devastating: Yes indeed God holds man accountable, and He can do so because He is the Potter, the one who molds and creates, while man is but the 'thing molded.' For a pot to question the Potter is absurd: for man to answer back to God is equally absurd." 
See Dr. White is putting the theology of Paul's objector into Paul's words, and because of this he allows no rebuttal of the argument just a slap on the wrist. If the people have no choice but to do what God has decreed for them to do, then it isn't wrong for them to complain if He finds fault. So instead of rebutting their excuse Dr. White has Paul rebutting a straw-man. Of course it is absurd for a pot to answer back to a potter. Yet it is just as absurd, perhaps more so even, for the potter to find fault with the pot when he is the one who made it that way.

If God had made Pharaoh to be who he was with no way to escape then yes Pharaoh could say "Why do you still find fault? You made me like this!" But that's not what Paul is talking about now is it? For the word "formed" here is moulded, not created. It is like how a potter takes suitable clay and forms it into something for a purpose. It is not like God creating a person in order to be something. It is a refashioning, not a creating. God found fault with Pharaoh, and He found fault with Israel. Interestingly enough He didn't find fault with Esau, He simply chose to bless Jacob (Israel).

What's the point here? There's nothing special about Israel that God must honor. He is free to bless, and use for honor those whom He will. 

God chooses to use those whom He chooses based on His will. He refashions those whom He finds fault in for dishonorable service, and blesses undeserving others for honorable service. That's Paul's point. God has chosen to use the Church instead of Israel at this time. Calvinists, including Dr. White, tend to ignore, some or all of, the very next verse. 

Rom 9:21

21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
To make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor. Are we "honored" with Salvation? Is Salvation an "honor"? We honor veterans and heroes. We honor the Christ! Is the free gift of Salvation Rom 6:23 an "honor"? What bout being Firstborn in a family, do you think that's an honor? It sure is! Especially if you were not the actual first born son! Is it an honor that the Church is being used by God in the world today instead of Israel? It sure is! Is it a dishonor that Israel is not being used by God today? It sure is!

Dr. White offers:

"Why are there vessels prepared for destruction? Because God is free. Think about it: there are only three logical possibilities here. Either 1) all "vessels" are prepared for glory (universalism); 2) all "vessels" are prepared for destruction; or 3) some vessels are prepared for glory and some are prepared for destruction and it is the Potter who decides which are which."
Dr. White really needs to be helped with avoiding the False Dilemma Logical Fallacy because he repeatedly employs it in his argumentation. What if this passage is about God using people and people groups, you know like what the passage reads like if you don't add to it? For example... that's just one more POSSIBLE option.

He continues:

"... there must be vessels prepared for destruction. There is no demonstration of mercy and grace where there is no justice." 
Sometimes I think Calvinists are as confused about the word Justice as they are about the word All. What justice do these people have?
"...He demonstrates His wrath upon "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction.... these are sinners upon whom God's wrath comes. They are said to have been specifically 'prepared for destruction.' That is their purpose." 
What Justice does the one who is made to sin, be judged for that sin, and spend eternity suffering in the lake of fire for that sin which they could not avoid get? Think of it this way. A child is abducted and brainwashed into hating someone. They are specifically trained to murder that person. When the time is right the abductor unleashes the trained killer on the target the abductor intends to have killed. When the murder is done the abductor pins a badge to his chest, puts on his Police cap and arrests the child. Later the abductor sits in the Judge's chair and presides over the trail of the child. The child is sentenced to death by lethal injection for his crime. What justice did this child get? What about the judge? Is he "righteous"? Does saying "Who are you pot to complain to the potter who fashioned you about how he has made you to be?" defend the "righteousness" of the judge?

The concept is absolutely absurd, to the point of being offensive. Is this a defence of the Christian faith? Who is supposed to be convinced by this?

The fact is that even in a human court room the child would not be held accountable for the crime, the abductor would. The one who fashioned the child to do the crime would be punished. Even in a corrupt human court! Is God less righteous than a human judge?

Paul's imagined objector is ignoring Paul's argument and making excuses! "God made me this way! It's His fault!" But no oh fool! Here's Paul's answer:
Rom 9:

22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
God "endured with much longsuffering the vessels prepared for destruction." Why? To show His glory on the vessels He had prepared beforehand for glory. It is interesting that God is not said to have prepared the vessels for destruction, and that the word "prepared" in vs 22 means to be "mended" or fixed up. It is a word used of fixing a fishing net. Whereas in vs 23 prepared means to make ready. God endures what has been refashioned for destruction in order to show mercy on those He has made ready to be used of displaying His glory. This is the very same message we find in 2Peter 3:9?

God finds fault because people, themselves of their own will, do wrong. He blesses whom He wills to bless even though they don't deserve it, and finds fault with those who have fault.

At verse 24 out of 33 in the chapter, and skimming over verse 21, Dr. White leaves his argument for God's work as Potter creating pots for the purpose of doing evil and being destroyed in Hell, and other pots for doing good and being welcomed into Glory to turn to some approximation of Geisler's discussion of Romans 9. I'm going to skip that portion of the chapter because frankly I found Dr. Geisler's work on Romans 9 to be less than excellent and I have no desire to attempt a defence of it.

Dr. White's last thrust before he moves on is:

"Given how clear and forceful this passage is, how can the Arminian escape its force?"
I have two answers. Dr. Geisler, whom you claim to be rebutting is not an Arminian. Second, the passage apparently doesn't say what you think it "clearly and forcefully" says.

Why do I mention what verse he stops at? Well because he starts his discussion of Geisler's work with a quotation from John Piper:

"It is remarkable and telling phenomenon that those who find no individual predestination to eternal life in Rom 9:6-13 cannot successfully explain the thread of Paul's argument as it begines in Rom 9:1-5 and continues through the chapter." 
Throughout TPF Dr. White complains about how Dr. Geisler doesn't answer all of his favorite authors' work. Perhaps Dr. White should read more of Paul, and more of Dr. Geisler as well.

In Rom 9:25-29 Paul defends God's going to the people of the nations, from the OT scriptures and shows how God is not done with Israel. We find some interesting things that are troubling for White's position however. His idea that the reason people don't believe in Jesus is because they cannot because they are not the Elect, His people. Yet God says that He will call people His people who are not His people. And though they are not His people they will become the children of God.

But the big question is this. Is Dr. White correct in stating that the reason one person doesn't believe is because the Potter has made them that way? Did the Nation of Israel not attain the righteousness of God because God had created them not to be able to do so? Let's listen to Paul answer this question.

Rom 9:30-33
30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 33 As it is written: 
“Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”
Why haven't they attained God's righteousness? Because they did not seek it by faith. This makes no sense if Paul's doctrine is White's doctrine, and the excuse of the imagined objector is valid.

I think it is telling that it is the Calvinists, including John Piper, who do not present an argument that cannot successfully explain Paul's argument throughout the entirety of the chapter.

Well that concludes my examination of Dr. White's strongest argument in his book. I found one partial point of agreement because he simply restated exactly what the verse stated. Everything else he wrote crumbled under the weight of examination by the Scriptures.

My reading ahead in the book really took a hit when my kindle updated the book and removed all of my notes. I lost many hours of work and so I am well behind in my reading. Currently I'm reading the 10th chapter and it seems that Dr. White has left his attempt to rebut Dr. Geisler and is now defending the 5 points of TULIP.  We'll be taking a look at Limited Atonement next time.

Right now though, at the conclusion of Dr. White's "rebuttal" of Chosen But Free offered in The Potter's Freedom I am completely unimpressed and I am simply amazed by the praise heaped on the book. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Of Repentance Granted, and Disallowed

My blessing for a hot meal?
Heb 12:14-17
14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
In 2006 a local preacher explained this passage to his congregation in the context that God will not always accept someone back to Him, that He has a time limit on His offer. There's more than a little truth to the concept the preacher was trying to get across, but he ended up missing the mark. The preacher went on to explain that Esau wasn't able to repent, though he wanted to so badly he was moved to tears.

The preacher's view of repentance being turning from your sins, or stopping your sins, informed his view of the passage. He explained that since Esau couldn't change the fact that he had exchanged his blessing for a hot meal that he could not repent of it. He couldn't stop it, no matter how much he wanted to once the end result was realized.

But, what "repentance" did Esau seek after with tears? Read Gen 27:30-40. Esau wept for want of his father's repentance about which son he blessed. There was no place for repentance however, because Isaac his father had already blessed Jacob. Isaac, Esau and Jacob's father, explained that his brother Jacob would be blessed, and Esau would serve him. This has absolutely nothing to do with Esau being unable to repent, or needing God to gift him repentance.

It is an example of repentance unto blessing being disallowed, because the blessing was no longer available. What had been done had been done. It didn't matter that Isaac regretted what happened, his blessing had been given. God would honor the blessing and would not allow Isaac repentance to change what would happen. It didn't matter that Esau had repented about selling the blessing, the blessing was no longer available. It's interesting that in Rom 9:10-12 we find out that this was by design. God had chosen Jacob for the position of Firstborn. God actually disallowed repentance. He would not allow it to change His plan.

It is clear that God will accomplish all He sets out to do, that there are specific things He has intended to complete and that these same will be accomplished. Isa 46:8-11 tells us as much. Yet is is also clear that God does change His mind, He repents and or relents, in response to repentance and or faith of mankind.

We read in 1Cor 5:1-13 of a young man engaged in sexual immorality that the local assembly had not put out of fellowship. Paul instructs them to put him out where he'll suffer at the hands of Satan, "that he might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." Which speaks of Judgment of works, not Eternal Salvation  We read about the shame of failure some will at His appearing in 1Jn 2:28 Here is more on the Judgment Seat of Christ before which all Believers will stand. Later Paul writes in 2Cor 2:3-11 instructing the assembly to welcome him back into fellowship. Here, repentance was granted by God, demanded by Paul, and actioned by the assembly. Not the young man's repentance, but the repentance of the assembly to welcome him back in. Paul explained that it is our duty to God to keep our assemblies pure. It is God who allows this young man to return, who grants the repentance of the assembly. Not who "gifts repentance to him or them" but Who grants or allows it. It was right to relent on the young man's punishment because God has allowed them to bring him back in. For this man repentance unto fellowship, and all that entails, was finally granted.

We run into a similar pattern over a very different issue in 2Tim 2:25. Taken by itself, and with a dose of preconceived theology, the verse may appear to say that God may "gift" repentance to "those in opposition." But does it really? Paul is telling Timothy how to minister, saying a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition. This last is conditioned on what God does however, if God grants them repentance so that they may know the truth and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. 2Tim 2:24-26.

This is just like 1Cor 5 & 2Cor 2 again, these disorderly Brethren had become false teachers and had to be marked and separated from. Just like the young man, they were to be put out into the snare of Satan to teach them not to live by the flesh. In 2Tim 1 Paul talks about his ministry and how he has held fast his doctrine about the grace of God. In 2Tim 2:1-2 Paul tells Timothy to therefore be strong in the grace of Jesus Christ and to entrust this doctrine to faithful men who will also be able to teach it.  He continues with warnings to Timothy of the price to be paid to preach the Gospel, that he will also be treated like an evil doer, that he is to realize he is like a soldier in a war who will suffer at the hands of the opposition. 2Tim 2:3-13

Then in 2Tim 2:14-26 Paul talks about how to minister to the Elect, the Believers in Christ, warning them to stay away from error. He warns that tiny errors will grow like cancer! He even warns Timothy himself to be a workman in the Scriptures ensuring he rightly divides the Word of Truth. Paul is warning Timothy to be ware of even his own doctrine! Paul names Hymenaeus and Philetus saying their strange doctrine had over thrown the faith of many! Timothy is told to "shun" such vain babblings.

In 2Tim 2:20-25 Paul explains this shunning. He says that even in a great house there are vessels of honor and dishonour. There are faithful men to which teaching is to be entrusted, and their are unfaithful men who's words are to be shunned, and who are to be put out of the fellowship. He says "Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter (the vessels of dishonour) they will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work." Paul then says to "flee also" youthful lusts, and to avoid foolish and ignorant disputes... this is Biblical Separation at work. Other reference verses would be: 1Tim 6:3-5, Titus 3:9-11, Rom 16:17, 2Jn 1:9-11

Finally, Timothy is to be able to teach these opposers of the truth, should God grant them repentance. Or like the young man in Corinth who had been sexually immoral, if God should allow Timothy to allow them back into fellowship, that they may learn the truth and be freed from the same snare of the devil that the young man in Corinth suffered.

If this passage were about God giving repentance and the knowledge of the truth to these opposers - as is often taught of the passage - then Timothy would not need to be instructed "And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel bu be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition..." For if God "gave" them repentance so that they knew the truth, then Timothy would not be the one tasked with correcting them. It is apparently possible that God will either grant them repentance, or allow them to return to fellowship, or He may not. Yet, Timothy is to be prepared for God to allow it. While Acts 11:18 talks about granting repentance unto life, here we could say that God is granting repentance unto correction.

I'm well aware that many Calvinist readers will think I'm abusing the Text. I ask those same readers to examine the Text without their theology informing them. Does the Text say that God may "gift" repentance or that He may "grant" or "allow" it? The word didomi has a range of meanings which include both senses. Which does the Text support? Giving someone the truth and having them be corrected? Or allowing them to be brought back in safe from the snare of the Devil where they can be corrected? There is a third option which I must mention, out of integrity, but I fear some Calvinist interpreters will find appealing: Or is Paul ignoring all of his instruction to separate from false teachers, and saying that Timothy is to be such a minister that God can use him to correct the opposers and at the same time giving them this repentance. The only non-convoluted option, which does not add to the Text, matches Paul's instructions and does not assume the answer is that Paul is telling Timothy to be prepared to work with these people if God allows him to welcome them back into fellowship.

Israel is a very high profile example. When the Lord came to them He preached the Gospel of the Kingdom, repentance was granted. They were allowed to enter in to the promises given them. When they rejected the King, they were turned over and blinded as a nation. Individually they may be saved, but their is no opportunity for the Nation of Israel to be welcomed back in now. The Lord has set appart a time to bring them to their own repentance. This time is known as the Time of Jacob's Trouble, or the Great Tribulation. This time will bring the Nation of Israel to repentance, and repentance will be granted to them. They will then have the opportunity to say "Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the LORD!" and be welcomed back in. Ps 118, Jer 30:1-24, Mat 23:37-39, Luk 13:34-35, Luk 19:41-44, Rom 9, Rom 10, Rom 11... among many other passages. National repentance for Israel is not granted right now, but will be again soon.

Some extreme cases of repentance being disallowed include Ananias and Sapphira who lied to the Holy Spirit and were immediately killed by God. Acts 5:1-11 Moses is even an example of the same! After he struck the Rock a second time God told him to go up on a mountain and die. Deut 32:48-51. You can read more about this example in the article Faith in the Flinty Rock.

What's true of all the above examples is that given particular conditions repentance is granted, and under different conditions repentance is disallowed. This brings us to our second last issue, and a passage some use to describe repentance as a gift from God.

Acts 11:18 is a similar pattern but an altogether different situation. Again, if you read it by itself and insert some theology into it you can get the impression that God is gifting repentance to people. I've heard it taught that this is an example of God gifting repentance to sinners several times, but is that what's going on here?

Israel is God's chosen nation. Deut 7:6-8 Even Jesus says that "Salvation is of the Jews" Jn 4:22 Throughout the NT the issue the Jews have is that God might fellowship with, and use people other than the Jews. It is an unthinkable thought to the mind of the Israelite. Jews could not even themselves fellowship with Gentiles. Throughout Israel's history anyone who would be saved would have to convert to Judaism and become part of Israel in order to do so. There was no access to God except through the Nation of Israel. Rom 9:4-5, Ruth 1:15-18 (for example), and so on.. The idea that the Gentiles could be reconciled to God without becoming Jews was astounding.

This is exactly the kind of opposition Peter faced when he returned to Jerusalem with news of his ministry among the Gentiles. He explains how he struggled with the same fears and thoughts, but that God convinced him to go to the Gentiles. Then he talks about the Gentiles conversion and it is then clear to his opposers that God indeed had allowed the Gentiles to be born again. He had granted repentance unto life to the Gentiles. This isn't gifting each of the people with repentance, it is allowing it to bring Gentiles to life directly without them becoming Jews. Such had not ever happened in all the history of Israel up to the Cross. But, by Peter's testimony of what had happened it was obvious, even to these Israelites, that God had indeed granted repentance unto life to the Gentiles.

I could go into detail about other passages on the subject of Repentance being granted, not given, but these two will suffice for now. First God commands all men everywhere to repent. It is God's command, not God's gift. Further, when Believers are judgmental about others being saved the Apostle Paul reminds us that it is the goodness of God that "leads" people to repentance. Rom 2:4. You don't lead someone to a gift. However, you might lead them to something you've commanded them to do, and that will have a result.

Finally we come to the most immediate, and currently important, issue: repentance granted to each individual in the world. 

Currently, repentance IS granted - we may enter in by the Door which is Jesus Christ, but that Door will be shut all too soon for many. Then repentance unto life will no longer be granted. Mat 25:10, Jn 10:9, Luk 13:24-27, Gen 7:1-24 Pay close attention to Gen 7:16 noting that the Lord shut the door to the ark and no one else could then get in. The next thing that happened was the flood. Repentance unto salvation was no longer granted, it was disallowed. The people could repent about their sin, but there was nothing left to save them even if they did. There is soon coming a moment where the Lord will remove the Church which is His Body from the face of the Earth and He will turn His attention to the Time of Jacob's Trouble which will draw Israel to national repentance. At that time, just like the national repentance of Israel is disallowed right now, everyone who has disbelieved in this age will be blinded. God will send them a strong delusion, and they will believe the lies of Satan and his anti-Christ. 2Thes 2:1-12

Now is the accepted time. Today is the day of Salvation. There may be no other for you. 2Cor 6:2

Sunday, October 07, 2012

The Debater's Potter - Part 13 - Chapter 8

Welcome again to this series in which I interact and respond to Dr. James R. White's The Potter's Freedom(TPF), which he intends as a defense of the Reformation (or his view of it anyway) and "the" rebuttal of Dr. Norman Geisler's Chosen But Free(CBF). as a non-Calvinist Non-Arminian.  I took some time away from White's book this last week in order to clear my head. It's been nice! However, we need to get cracking because we're right about half way through!

If you're just jumping in here please go back to The Introduction. Each of the articles are very long and so I won't have space to restate previous information. So, if you think I'm making a bold unsupported claim and you haven't read from the beginning, don't blame me! :) 

These articles are long enough without long introductions being added to them, so let's get at it!

Chapter 8 - Unconditional Election 

"We have already lamented the fact that CBF is long on assertions, but very short on exegesis." 
I'm starting my response with a giggle for a great friend: Pot, meet Kettle. Yes, as always Dr. White's complaints about CBF would be better made in response to his own work. There are some attempts at exegesis in TPF, but they are thus far few and far between, and to say they are exegetical would be to ignore how exegesis works. They are attempts however, and more importantly they are consistent with Calvinism's hermeneutic which a local preacher identified for me this week past. Dr. White and I have an entirely different definition of exegesis but at least he is attempting to be exegetical using his theology trumping hermeneutic. 

As I've been reviewing this chapter of TPF I've been wondering who or what Dr. White is arguing against. It's apparent that either Dr. White or some member or associate at least has actually read CBF, but it is just as apparent that he has chosen to attempt to rebut arguments that are not made in CBF. Dr. White has suggested that Dr. Geisler got his students to write an appendix to the latest revision of CBF which is a response to TPF. Based on my reading of TPF, it seems that someone read CBF and provided quotes to insert among Dr. White's usual arguments. I've watched a few videos of Dr. White and they all sound exactly like TPF no matter who he is arguing against.

Now I'm not playing the classic Calvinist roll of crying "Misrepresentation!" and "Straw-man!" and then moving on as though the claim has been rebutted. I've already demonstrated that Dr. White has horribly misrepresented CBF by going through two chapters of the book in
Part 7 A Brief View of Chosen But Free. Before I comment on the rest of Dr. White's 8th chapter we need to take another look at Chosen But Free. The understanding of God's Election of Believers is the primary issue being addressed in CBF. As we noted in Part 7, the primary question of the book is: How can we both chosen and free?

It seems that Dr. White would like his readers to forget the title of Dr. Geisler's book includes the word "chosen" in it. Dr. Geisler, as we saw in Part 7, uses a multitude of Scripture to build his defense of the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. After that work is done Dr. Geisler offers a scenario to help the reader see how it all works more easily. Here is an extended quotation, of which Dr. White quotes merely the first two sentences. 

CBF Discussion of Romans 8:28 starting on Page 69 (according to my Kindle)

     "That these and like texts show the unconditional nature of election from God's point of view is not challenged. But the question is not whether election is unconditional from the vantage point of the Giver but whether there are any conditions for the receiver     This and other Scriptures reveal that election is related to foreknowledge. Romans 8:29, the very next verse, says "Those God foreknew He also predestined." And 1Peter 1:2 proclaims that the elect "have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father." This affirms that God is the unconditional source of the election, and that the election is done with full foreknowledge of all things. But we have demonstrated that the elect will freely choose to believe. Election is not based on or dependent on foreknowldege. Rather it is merely in accord with it (see chapter 3).      An illustration is in order. Suppose a young man (whom we will call Jim) is contemplating marriage, and knows two young ladies (whom we will call Joan and Betty), either of whom would make a good wife for him. As a Christian, he has three basic choices: (1) to propose to neither of them; (2) to propose to Joan; or (3) to propose to Betty. Bear in mind that the young man is under no compulsion. There is nothing outside his own will that places demands on him to choose any one of the three options (or any other one).      Suppose further that the young man happens to know that if he proposes to Joan she will say yes and if he proposes to Betty she will say no. Suppose then, in accordance with this foreknowledge of how she will freely respond, that Jim chooses to propose to Joan. Suppose even that he knew she would be reluctant at first but with persistent and loving persuasion she would eventually--freely--accept his offer. The decision on his part was entirely free, uncoerced, and not based on anything outside himself. But it was also a decision that was with full knowledge of the response and which respected the free choice of the person to whom he decided to propose. This is analogous to what the moderate Calvinists believe about God's unconditional election." 
When I read CBF I found this illustrative overview of the concept he had explained to be most compelling and I still do. This illustration isn't what convinced me, it is the working through the Scriptures that lead up to this that did. This illustration however allowed me to see it all come together. As I have noted briefly here and there in this series of articles Geisler makes a number of mistakes in CBF. It is hard for me to look past these and still find his argument to be true. However, if we restrict our conversation to the passages of Scripture that speak about Election unto Salvation, and the the conditions on the sinner to become saved Geisler's view of Election is inescapable. It is my position that only extra-biblical ideas derail Geisler's view. In fact, in the debate between White and Geisler, only Geisler can read his view directly from the Scriptures without redefining the words. 

Back to TPF we find White complaining that CBF has a "response" to Eph 1 that is merely 8 sentences long, whereas Reformed Theologians have volumes written about the chapter.  He brings up Geisler's note about Rom 9:16 (We'll get into Romans 9 in the next article of this series) where Geisler states that just about everyone believe that God is the one who initiated salvation, even before the world began. White jumps all over this, and makes out as though Geisler's argument in CBF is that God merely initiates salvation. As has been demonstrated over and over this is not the argument of CBF and a book seeking to rebut CBF ought to fixate on arguments that are actually in CBF.

White quotes Geisler discussing Eph 1:4 with 8 sentences that discuss how the giving of Salvation is unconditional but the reception of salvation is conditioned on faith. In these 8 sentences Geisler quotes(not just references) Rom 5:1, Acts 16:31, and Heb 11:6 (strangely) in support of his view. If I were writing CBF I would note that the Bible conditions the reception of Eternal Life on faith (alone) some 150 times. White complains:

"We can hardly be charged with exaggeration when we say that a work that seeks to provide reasons to "avoid" the historic Reformed position would have to provide some kind of meaningful interaction with such a central passage as this.To dismiss this passage of Scripture with the argument, "Well sure God chose to save freely, but man still has to believe to be saved" is to completely miss the heart and soul of the position being attacked." 
Where does White get the idea that CBF seeks to provide reasons to avoid the historic Reformed position? The stated purpose of the book is to provide understanding of how Believers can be both chosen and free. What's more, while Dr. White is saying that Dr. Geisler dismisses this passage (strangely while responding to his discussion of the very same passage...) Dr. White completely ducks Geisler's argument, the 3 quoted verses and by extension the 150 passages that condition the reception of Eternal Life on faith. Is this a rebuttal or a distraction? Why would Dr. White be surprised by Dr. Geisler not wishing to debate him. 
Dr. White skips the discussion at hand and returns to attacking Arminianism, not CBF, then makes this statement:

"There is no real difference between saying God elects on the basis of foreknowledge or in accordance with it if, in the final analysis, it is the free choice of man, not the free choice of God that determines who the elect are! CBF clearly says that God elects based upon His knowledge that those so elected "could be persuaded to freely accept His grace." The final, ultimate deciding factor in election is the free acceptance of the human being. This is glaringly obvious. And it is fully Arminian." 

What is glaringly obvious is that White doesn't expect his readers to bother reading CBF. He continues to complain saying:
"...if the decree of "election" is not specific and based solely upon the will of God, it must become a decree to save based upon what man does in time, nothing else. ...That is, it becomes impersonal. It becomes a decree to save those who fulfill certain obligations (no matter how many or how few those conditions might be), not a decree to save anyone in particular."
First, it is only White who is saying that Geisler says that it is man who determines who the elect are. As demonstrated in Part 7 and above in the illustrative scenario, Geisler teaches that God chooses. Secondly, where is this "decree" that Dr. White discusses? Where is this official documented order given by the Sovereign? Where is the Scripture that says anything different than what Geisler discusses? If this were a rebuttal of CBF, and if the Scriptures actually said something other than what Geisler suggests then Dr. White could simply quote the Text and let is speak for itself. Dr. White is fond of saying that the Text can speak for itself, but not so fond it seems of letting it do so.

As to the issue of specificity Dr. White quotes Dr. Geisler:

"Why, then, does one person go to heaven and another not? Because God willed that all who receive His grace will be saved and that all who reject it will be lost. And since God knew infallibly just who this would be, both the elect and non-elect were determined from all eternity. And this determination was not based on anything in man, including their free choice. Rather, it was determined on God's choice to save all who would accept his unconditional grace." 
Here's the part immediately preceding this that White does not quote:
     "If Salvation is conditioned wholly on God's grace and not on man's will, then how can man's free choice play any part in his salvation? The answer to this question is found in an important distinction between two sense of the word "condition." There are no conditions for God's giving of salvation; it is wholly of grace. But there is one (and only one) condition for receiving this gift--true saving faith.     There is absolutely nothing in man that is the basis for God saving him. But there was something in God (love) that is the basis for man's salvation. It was not because of any merit in man but only because of grace in God that salvation was initiated toward man. Man does not initiate salvation (Rom 3:11) and he cannot attain it (Rom 4:5). But he can and must receive it (John 1:12). Salvation is an unconditional act of God's election. Man's faith is not a condition for God giving salvation, but it is for man receiving it. Nonetheless, the act of faith (free choice) by which man receives salvation is not meritorious. It is the Giver who ges credit for the gift, not the receiver."
I've discussed the fact that Paul explicitly states that faith is not meritorious and that in fact in Rom 4:16 he says that salvation HAD to be accessed by faith alone in order for it to be given by grace. For more on this check out Well Done Abram? (note: Dr. Geisler is not building a doctrine that God only initiates salvation. Please don't read Dr. White's argument into CBF.)

White complains about Geisler being carefully confusing... and says:
"Nowhere in this quote, or in CBF, will you find the elect as individuals being chosen by God solely upon the basis of His will."
Now I would say this is a carefully crafted statement in itself. I will remind the reader of what I quoted from CBF above "The decision on his part was entirely free, uncoerced, and not based on anything outside himself." Also check the section that White did not quote again. Geisler also adds note 77 adding to his comment of John 15:16 saying:
"It is clear of course, that God chose us before we chose to accept Him. And our decision to accept His offer of salvation is not the basis for His choice of us. We did not choose Him--either first or as the basis of His choice of us. We merely responded to His gracious offer of salvation based solely on His unconditional grace. But we do have a choice in receiving this unconditional gift of salvation for "All who received Him, to those who believed in His name He gave the right to become children of God.(John 1:12)"
Yet White continues:
"God wills to save those who believe, and who believes is not the result of the decree but of the "free choices" of men. Again, this is pure Arminianism." 
There is so much wrong with these two sentences that I could write a whole article on just them. Where is "the decree"? Geisler says over and over and over again that the free choices of men don't determine their salvation. He states it explicitly, shows it from the Scripture, gives a scenario to help us understand. What more does he have to do to get Dr. White to understand? Perhaps what White is arguing against is Arminianism. Yet how does calling CBF "pure Arminianism" rebut CBF?  Simply calling something Arminianism doesn't prove it is wrong.

If you're wondering why this bothers me so much consider how many people have heaped praise on Dr. White for this book. Isn't this praise beginning to seem absolutely absurd? If this were some obscure book by someone without influence, and whom wasn't held up as a defender of the faith then it would be laughable. However, the man has a platform and that makes his influence dangerous if he is not able to actually interact with opposition faithfully. Calvinists may be upset with my reaction to TPF, but they cannot honestly suggest I have misrepresented it.

Dr. White then quotes Eph 1:3-11. He states several things about the passage, but doesn't explain why his quotation doesn't include the last half of the last sentence, verse 12, and the completion of the teaching verses 13 & 14. He says that God acts and Believers are the recipients. As an aside; one wonders why Paul calls Believers "Believers" instead of recipients if they don't actually "believe" but are given their faith as a gift. White then writes:
"Throughout this passage we will see the phrase "in Christ" or "in Him" repeated over and over again, all to emphasize the uniqueness of the Christian gospel, where God saves men in Christ and in no other way."
This is an interesting thing for White to conclude from the passage. On one hand, I could neither argue with the fact that the Christian Gospel is unique, nor that God saves men in Christ only. Yet what I challenge is White's assertion that these statements are included in this passage "all to emphasize the uniqueness of the Christian gospel." Where does he get this idea from? He doesn't explain, and I cannot find the concept addressed, implied, concluded, or required by Paul in this passage. This is vitally important for the reader to catch. Instead of getting his view on the usage of these words from the Text, he's inserting his view into it.

White continues noting that election here is God's choice and explains that the rest of the passage gives us three vital pieces of information: the object of the choice, the sphere of the choice and the time frame of the choice.  He says that the first person plural pronoun "us" is the object of the choice and continues:
"If certain theories were correct we might expect something like "to save" so that the passage would simply be "God chose to save, or make salvation possible, before the foundation of the world." But instead Paul provides a personal direct object, making the choice personal and distinct. He chose "us" not a nameless, faceless class or group but "us." 
I thought the whole - if the author wanted to say that he could have written that - argument was a "weak argument" according to Dr. White. Perhaps it's only weak when levelled against Calvinism. :) However, since the he used it here I will return the favour. Dr. White keeps saying that Election is about INDIVIDUALS being specifically chosen to believe, while other specific individuals are not. While I think there is truth to this belief, Dr. White forces it into the Text where it is not found, like for instance this passage. If God were talking about specific individuals then the object of the choice would not be "us" it would be "each of us." What White is arguing against is the doctrine of Corporate Election, yet for what reason one cannot be sure. Dr. Geisler isn't arguing for the doctrine of Corporate Election. Dr. Geiler's work explains Election as a personal thing, each individual is Elected to Eternal Life. 

He moves on...

"This choice, by necessity, must take place in Christ. Christ is not the one here chosen, but thoes who are chosen are chosen in Christ. There is no election outside of union with Christ." 
Except that God elected, or chose, Judas Iscariot Jn 6:70 who was not in Christ for example... See the word election in the verse here. Now I could suppose that Dr. White is suggesting that there is no salvation outside of union with Christ, but that's not what he wrote.

He then goes on to talk about how Christianity is neither pluralistic nor syncretistic. I knew what pluralistic meant, having more than one God, but syncretistic is new to me. Once again, who or what exactly is Dr. White arguing against? Nevertheless he continues with this interesting point:

"But this choice is timeless. It is made "before the foundation of the world," before creation itself. The choice is wholly divine and wholly based upon the will of God for at the time of the election of us in Christ nothing else but God existed. Election is wholly of Him."
Did God have no foreknowledge of what was going to happen in History inside of His creation before He created it? Was He so in the dark that He had to make a decision based on nothing but Himself? This is not what the Scriptures say. White doesn't leave this argument here either. He returns to how man makes choices in Time and that God made His election prior to Time, and this is the reason His election could not be in accordance with God's foreknowledge of man. 

The Scripture says that God knew, and knows all. That He elected in accordance with His foreknowledge. Frankly, Paul & Geisler are completely in agreement for Geisler merely quotes Paul. Further this business about God electing based on His will might make us wonder what the will of God with regard to Salvation actually is. We need to go to ground the Calvinist claims to find this stated by the Lord Himself. All whom the Father have given Him He should loose none of us, and that all who believe shall be given Eternal Life and be raised up on the last day. Jn 6:39-40 The will of the Father is Eternal Security and the giving of Eternal Life to all who believe. If you missed my discussion of John 6 please go back and read Part 11 where I go verse by verse through the chapter.

White continues:
"But to what were Christians predestined? Adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself." God predestined not simply a plan but an end, just as we saw in verse 4. Those who are chosen in eternity are predestined to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself... And since adoption is always personal (God does not adopt plans nor nameless, faceless masses of humans, but persons), this is saying exactly what the Baptist Confession of Faith asserted in the previous chapter: personal, specific election of the people of God."
Here's the thing though. What were we predestined to? Adoption. Not to belief. What is being born into the family conditioned on? Faith. Who have been predestined to to adoption? Those who believe. As to the nonsense about adoption always being personal... where did this come from? Is this an exegetical handling of the Text?

Next we find the reason for the abruptly cut off quotation of Paul in mid sentence at Eph 1:11.

"It should be noted that at this point all of the verbs in the passage have had God as their subject. Men have not added an iota to the discussion outside of being adopted into the family of God... He is not controlled by the whims and will of creatures He has yet to bring into existence."
Who said that God is controlled by the whims and will of creatures? Does Dr. White expect to be taken seriously when he writes like this? Here's the whole sentence that Dr. White cut in the middle. 

Eph 1:11-12

11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
See Dr. White is "correct" in saying that "at this point all of the verbs in the passage have had God as their subject." But does this even have any importance at all, given that in order to be able to make such a statement Dr. White had to cut the Apostle off mid sentence?

See the fact that God does acts and that they are not done by men IS important. It does carry meaning. However, abusing the Text to make it appear to mean something it doesn't is a practice that I cannot condone. It doesn't get any better for Dr. White if we finish quoting the Apostle to the end of his thought.

Eph 1:13-14

13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Here we find that the Reformed Theology of pre-faith regeneration is (again) refuted in the Text by a simple reading. Not to mention, once again we see that salvation is conditioned on Faith, and specifically faith that happens prior to someone being given the Holy Spirit.

Dr. White continues:

"What is the basis of God's act of predestination? It is "according to the kind intention of His will." Each word is important. It is His will, not our will.... The basis of this specific decree is God's will. No mention is found of man's will." 
What specific "decree"? Who said predestination was based on man's will? I'm including some of these types of quotes repeatedly because this really is the thrust of the book. It doesn't matter that it's completely bunk, he has chosen to argue against the idea that salvation is based on man's will... He continues now into something philosophical, which I am going to challenge philosophically.
"We need to remember that first and foremost God's action of saving man is an act of Grace. His will is not some dark and foreboding thing." 
Tell that to the people who are predestined to Hell. He continues:
"The emphasis in Scripture is always on the wonder that God would save at all, never upon the idea that God chooses not to save a particular individual, leaving them to perfect justice. It is the "kind intention" of His will that lies at the base of His action of choosing a people in Christ."
Always? Where does the Scripture emphasize wonder that God would save at all? Where? If God is Almighty, limitless in power, then He is able to save every individual. By definition then, if He chooses only some out of the whole to be saved He is also choosing the remainder to be damned. He is not merely leaving people to face justice, He is violating justice.

Suppose an infinitely rich court Judge took up the practice of paying the fines for some criminals but not others. Calling them not just "not guilty" but "justified" based on payment that the Judge himself had made to the court. Would it be just of him? Of course it would not be just! It would be a travesty of justice! What worse thing would the criminal who must suffer in jail have done than the one who was set free? Nothing! Is this grace? It may appear to be grace to the one who gets set free, but it is not grace. It is a violation of justice. Some form of favoritism, even if how the choice is made is not revealed. How long do you suppose a judge who randomly sets criminals free would stay on the bench? If you were convicted by him and sent to jail would you not protest? "The last guilty man through here you set free! Yet I am sentenced to jail!" You would yell much worse I am sure. Your lawyer would have a field day with the judge.

In order for grace to be grace it has to be selflessly loving. When I'm graceful it isn't about me, or for me. God cannot be "graceful" unless He is always graceful. A child isn't "obedient" if he only disobeys once a week. He's mostly obedient. Is God "mostly graceful"?

White moves on to the ever present bunk Calvinist argument about man getting praise if he believes... and says something interesting while he's at it.

"Is God's grace to be praised because we can be saved or because we are saved?"
It's a tiresome question because it is just going back over all the stuff we've already covered but here's a question. Who said we should praise God's grace? Are we not to praise God only? How would you accurately answer this specific question from the Scripture? Go ahead give it a try.

He finishes talking about Eph 1 with:

"It is clear, then, why Reformed believers understand the Bible to teach God's eternal decree of unconditional election." 
Not to me it isn't. I get that they do... believe me I get that they do. Why though? Where is this decree? Where does Scripture say that it works the way Reformed Theologians say it does?

I suppose I should go through Eph 1:3-6. Here it is:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
The Pedestrian Christian blog goes into detail on the passage, so I'm going to keep it short and simple here. We are chose us in Christ, the choice happened in Christ, not that we were chosen to be in Christ. We, the "us who first believed" and "you also who believed after hearing the Gospel in Verse 12-13, are predestined to adoption as sons. It is to those who believe that God gives the right to be sons. John 1:12-13. We are not predestinated to belief, and our adoption as sons is conditioned on belief. This is why the predestination must be in accordance with God's foreknowledge 1Pet 1:2. Neither Dr. Geisler or myself have any issue at all with the fact that God chose, or Elected, us in Eternity Past. What CBF and I argue is that this choice was made in accordance with God's foreknowledge, like Peter and Paul  teach. Not blindly like Dr. White teaches, having been made before God created man so man's actions cannot have anything to do with it...

See Eph 1:3-14 isn't explaining why people who do. It's explaining why God saves those who do. Because it is the "kind intention" of the Father that all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved. And those who will believe have been predestined to enjoy that Salvation since Eternity Past. There is a physical and technical reason for why it works this way. God is in Eternity. He's not waiting for people to get saved. No matter when in History you step out of Time, you enter Eternity in the exact same spot. Eternity isn't lots of Time it is the absence of Time. No matter when you leave Time to enter Eternity, there you are. You'll be there the same instant your Great Great Great Grand Father is.

Dr. White moves on to respond to what he calls "some" and I would call "very few of the" verses cited in CBF. 

With regard to John 1:12-13 he writes:
"In the midst of introducing the Word, John cannot help but speak of the Word in redemption." 
Dr. White seems to think that the Scriptures are authored by men in an emotional frenzy. Several times he explains why a particular penman of Scripture wrote particular passages, or how they wrote them because of some desire they had. It seems to me that Jude shows that the penmen of Scripture didn't write in accordance with their desires but in accordance with the direction of the Holy Spirit. He continues though, and makes an astonishing admission.
"It is to these, and these alone, that the right to become children of God is given. Specifically, those who believe in His name."
This is, however, completely in opposition to what Dr. White has been arguing all along. His explanation of pre-faith regeneration is that the right, ability, inkling, desire, and so on, to believe in His name is given only to those who have already been born again (regenerated) into God's family.  This is MOST CERTAINLY Dr. Geisler's point when citing this verse in CBF, yet instead of addressing the actual point of CBF Dr. White decides to argue an entirely different topic. This is the pattern of TPF, I ought not be surprised any more but somehow I still am. 

NOTE: Because I've suddenly and inexplicably lost all my TPF notes in my Kindle copy of TPF the rest of this article is going to be much less detailed.

Writing of the passage the Apostle penned:

"He speaks of the "birth" of believers and specifically denies certain assertions about their birth. They were not born of blood nor the will of the flesh nor the will of man.... Divine birth can have only one origin: God. It is not a matter of human will, human decision."
Then, as if to ensure his readers don't pick up on the misdirection, Dr. White quotes Calvin at length on the same subject, and coming to the conclusion that John is saying that the unsaved cannot believe unless he is first regenerated. Not content to appeal only to Calvin, Dr. White then cites Spurgeon with the accolade:
"Spurgeon, as only he could, put the passage in a context that speaks volumes:"
I don't mean to cast stones at the so called "The Prince of Preachers" but I think I'll take the context of the Text over the context it is preached in any day.

Then Dr. White writes something plainly astounding to me! 

"Dr. Geisler properly understands, and rejects, the reformed view of the passage." 
I feel like calling a friend! :) Unfortunately he doesn't exactly portray Dr. Geisler's view properly. Dr. Geisler agrees with plain reading of the Text. That the New Birth is sourced by God, by His will, and given to those who believe. Not as a result of their will, but as a result of the will of God who has willed to save all those who believe. Jn 6:40.

I could go on with White's argument, but read Jn 1:12-13 your self. Belief was not given to those who had been born according to the will of God, but those who believe were born by the will of God. These people didn't will to save themselves, they were not saved because of their lineage, they were not saved because of their performance - they were born into the family of God because God the Father has willed to save all those who believe in His Son.

Dr. White then moves on to Acts 13:46-48 writing:

"This passage is not cited in CBF as one that is used by "extreme Calvinists" and hence requires a response. Instead, it is listed as a passage that allegedly shows "Salvation: both ordained to it and persuaded into it." This idea is based upon citing Acts 13:48 and then noting that just a few verses later (Acts 14:1) the disciples spoke "in such a manner" that large people believed." Note: "that large people believed" is a direct quote from TPF. "We would hope that it is not being suggested that the quality of the apostles' speech is being credited with the faith  of the multitude: men are not converted by words of wisdom or the persuasive abilities of any man." 
One may well ask "Who is this "we" you speak of Dr. White?" but I'll leave that for now. If one were to listen to Dr. White alone one might well forget that Dr. Geisler's book is entitled "Chosen But Free" for a reason. This reader is not inclined to forget that Dr. Geisler believes God chooses, or elects, from Eternity past and has predestined all those who will believe to Eternal Life. This is what the passage states. It states they were ordained to Eternal Life, not to belief. It doesn't say they were regenerated so they could and would believe - of course there is not a single passage in all of Scripture that says, suggests or requires any such thing so that's no surprise. 

Further, I've done a search in CBF and have not found "in such manner" in it. We do find similar language in Dr. Luke's book we call Acts. Acts 14:1 to be specific. So are the words of concern that Dr. White offers directed at Dr. Luke? Of course I feel I must ask if Dr. White would believe the preaching of a false gospel can result in conversion? For if it cannot then even Dr. White agrees that the way a man preaches can allow for salvation to occur or deny it. Thus we find Luke's purpose in Acts 14:1 it is not that they were so persuasive, but that they were so "effective" (as Geisler puts it) because they preached the very same message as had just been expounded in Acts 13. How "effective" was Paul in Acts 13? Well, I preached from that passage a few years ago. I barely scratched the surface and it took me some 55 minutes. The message I gave was entitled In Accordance With the Scriptures. Give it a listen, I was amazed at how much Paul packed into his preaching.

It must be noted that Dr. Geisler does offer a similar argument to what Dr. White is protesting against, and Dr. Geisler is in error for doing so. This false argument even goes against the main argument of CBF. Nonetheless Dr. White argues his theology instead of letting the Text speak for itself. Acts 13:18 says that as many as were appointed to Eternal Life are the ones who believe. It's not more complicated than that. God has chosen those who will receive Eternal Life in accordance with His foreknowledge and predestined us to Eternal Life and conformance to the image of Jesus Christ. As much as Dr. White would like it to, this passage does no violence to the position of CBF, nor to the position held by myself. Likewise, it offers no assistance to his extra-biblical views.

Dr. White then moves on to Matt 11:25-27. He says that the idea that Jesus had just condemned several cities for their lack of belief but that God had hidden what they should have believed from them is the preceding context for verse 27. I'm not convinced that Dr. White is entirely accurate in his understanding. It seems to me that the whole of the 11th chapter should be considered. In verse 1 we find that Jesus had finished "commanding" his disciples and departed to teach and preach in cities. We then find that John heard about His works and, for some reason, started to doubt that Jesus was the Christ.

It's interesting isn't it that the neither the Lord nor the Apostle bring up the whole "present tense" believing that "true believers" supposedly have? Isn't interesting that the Lord doesn't note that John couldn't believe because it hadn't been given to him to believe? What does the Lord do? He talks about John's character in glowing regard. He details specific signs that the Lord had performed and tells His disciples to remind John that these things are happening - Jesus is the Christ.

The Lord then describes the generation of people surrounding Him. They complained about John who came neither eating nor drinking saying he had a demon. They complained about the Son of Man (the Lord's kingly title) because He HAS come eating and drinking. This is the context of the chapter. It is about disbelief, doubt and rejection. He proclaims "Woe to you.." to the cities who had disbelieved.

Then in Matt 11:25 the Lord starts His "answer" to the disbelief, doubt and rejection. Note that the Lord says who He reveals truth to - not to the wise, but to the babes. Not to those who think they have all the answers, but those who want the truth.

Dr. White makes a great deal about Matt 11:27, but he divorces it from the preceding verses, and the following. He seems to have a habit of cutting people off at particularly advantageous points in their discourse, whether Dr. Geisler, Dr. Luke, the Apostle Paul or even the Lord Himself. Thus he uses the verse as a proof-text for his theology. Here is the whole of the Lord's "answer" to this disbelief, doubt and rejection:
Matt 11:25-30: 

25 At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. 27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
If you think you have the answers, if you don't feel the burden then don't come - you're not welcome. The Lord chooses to reveal Himself to those who are not proud. James 4:6 This isn't the Lord explaining Unconditional Election, it is the Lord saying that He chooses not to reveal Himself to those who are proud in their own wisdom who think they are righteous. It's an open call - anyone who labours, who is heavy laden COME! 

From there Dr. White moves on to John 5:21 writing:
"Literally the text says, "He enlivens whom He wishes.
The verb is enlivens is active. This is something the Son does, and the objects of the active verb are human beings raised to spiritual life. The Arminian would have to limit this to saying that Christ freely wills to save based upon the action of faith in man.... Christ gives life to whom He wills, not to those who first will it thus allowing Him to save."
One wonders how Dr. White interprets the multitude of verses in the Bible that says someone believed, or had faith and the verb is "active." Ever consistent, Dr. White continues to argue against things not argued for in CBF. Also consistently, Dr. White appeals to a long list of commentators to show that it is God who wills "enliven" whom He chooses. Does Dr. Geisler argue against this? No. So what is the purpose of this list of commentators? One surmises that it is important to make it appear as though your opponent is going against what is commonly established. My concern is for my belief to be in line with the Text, not with a list of some carefully selected commentators.

White continues:

"So how does CBF handle this passage? Interestingly, it does so in the context of denying particular redemption, not unconditional election. As we will see when we discuss the atoning work of Christ, the vast majority of Arminian objections to particular redemption are actually confused objections to unconditional election. The same is true here."
What Dr. Geisler actually says is:
"This vers is sometimes used by extreme Calvinists in an attempt to prove limited atonement whereby Christ gives spiritual life only to the elect." Which he references from Steel & Thomas "Five Points of Calvinism." First of all, if this interpretation were true it would contradict the clear teaching of other texts in John (Jn 3:16) and elsewhere (1Jn 2:2; 2Pet 2:1). And all true Calvinists, following Calvin, believe the Bible is the Word of God and does not contradict itself. Second, the use of "just as" in this text indicates the Son is doing the same thing as the Father, and the Father "raises the dead." So it is not a reference to salvation but to resurrection of the dead. Finally, the resurrection in this very chapter of John refers to "all who are in the graves" (5:28), both saved and unsaved (vs .29). Hence, the resurrection life given is not limited to the elect: both saved and unsaved are resurrected." 
It is not Dr. Geisler confusing the subject, but Calvinists Steel & Thomas who are, he is merely responding to them. At least on the surface I have some issues with how Dr. Geisler has handled this passage, but I'm not going to dig into his argument to any great extent. I think the "life" the Lord is speaking of giving has it's context in the healing of the sick man, not so much the resurrection of the saved and unsaved. Still, I'm more interested in the Apostle's argument and whether it lines up with Calvinism. So, does John 5:21 actually speak of Unconditional Election?

As is my pattern, actually my rule of study, we need to look at the entirety of the Lord's answer to the Jews who sought to kill Him because He had healed a man on the Sabbath. Please read John 5:1-47. What I find is a message in stark opposition to Calvinism's doctrine of Total Inability. There is a veritable quote mine of things that go against that extra biblical doctrine in this chapter. But with regard to Unconditional Election we find the following:

Jn 5:5-7

Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”
This is an odd question for the Lord to ask if He is actually going to use this as an example of Unconditional Election isn't it?

Dr. White starts his discussion of Jn 5:21 by saying that this verse is much like Matt 11:27, and he's right it is. Of course Dr. White doesn't mean what I mean by that statement. What I mean is, the emphasis isn't on the fact that the Lord chooses, but it is on who He chooses. Of course the Lord is in control. Neither myself nor Geisler argue against that; no matter what Dr. White claims over and over again. Who does He choose? That's the important question the Lord is answering.

Finally Dr. White gets to what many have called the "Golden Chain of Redemption," Romans 8:28-30 of which Dr. White states:
"Few texts of Scripture are so clear, so forceful, in asserting the absolute freedom of God in saving His elect people than these. Every attempt to undermine their testimony truly rings hollow. Simple fairness drives the mind to recognize that these verses speak of God's wrok, not man's. God saves, from beginning to end."
One continually wonders who Dr. White is arguing against, and if he is arguing against someone in particular why doesn't their name appear in the subtitle of TPF instead of Dr. Geisler's name. He continues:
"Providing an exegesis of this text would be superfluous  as so many fine examples exist. The reader is directed to the work of John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans for an example of the ease with which the Reformed exegete can work with this text by simply allowing it to speak for itself. We are truly on "home court" in Romans 8 and 9."
Why should someone who has paid money to read Dr. White's "defence of the reformation" and "refutation of Chosen But Free" have to purchase another book to get understanding of this passage? We have already seen in a couple of the earlier articles in this series that Dr. White is plainly wrong with regard to Romans 8:6-8. I'm not sure I would be citing a "home court" advantage if I were him. Also, as Dr. White is fond of saying without actually allowing, how about you just let the passage "speak for itself" then? Before I even get started interacting with his text of this passage let's just let the passage speak for itself.

Rom 8:28-30

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
Pretty straight forward isn't it? Who are predestined? Those whom God foreknew. What are we predestined to? Conformance to the image of Christ. Is God waiting to see what man will say? No. Vs 30. Is man predestined to belief? Not according to this passage - or any other for that matter.
"How does CBF attempt to defuse this keystone of the Reformed faith? One should not be surprised that a slight variant of the classic Arminian approach is utilized."
The Reformed faith? Really? He goes on to complain that there is little mention of verse 28 in CBF, and nothing of what he considers "exegetical comment" and... 
"The attempted response to verse 29 focuses upon denying that "foreknown" carries the concept of "fore-loved" or "chosen." 
Dr. White will fill the remainder of his 8th chapter with a discussion about how "foreknown" means "fore-loved" so I think Dr. Geisler chose well to attack that particular fallacy. Fallacy is a strong word is it not? Earlier in TPF Dr. White makes quite a substantial deal about Dr. Geisler using another passage in the book of John to explain the drawing of Jn 6. Instead of interacting with the argument Dr. White dismissed it saying that Dr. Geisler was using a completely different passage and forcing it onto Jn 6.

So what does Dr. White do with the word "foreknew" in Rom 8:29? Well he starts out discussing how election is personal. He builds a false dilema by saying we have two choices - God's election of persons in accordance with Calvinism or His election of a plan of salvation.

I must be somewhat generous however because Dr. Geisler falls down in his argumentation on this subject. He does argue for a "plan" here. However, both arguments ignore what the Text says, which is simply that God foreknew people. Yes it is personal. No it is not "foreloved." Let's simplify White's argument. 

"Every time (in the New Testament) God is portrayed as "foreknowing" the object of the verb is personal." Therefore, to say that God foreknows acts, faith, behavior, choices, etc. is to assume something about the term that is not witnessed in the biblical text. God foreknows persons not things."
OK I have to interrupt... God doesn't foreknow things? He didn't know about His creation and what would happen in it before He created it? Really? Let's continue:
"This New Testament usage then decides for us which elements of the Old Testament stream most informs these passages. That is the Hebrew term yada is used in many different ways. Is there a discernable usage in the Old Testament that comes through to the New Testament that would see this as an action that has only persons as its object?" 
This would be insanely amusing if it were not insanely tragic. He just basically wrote "Is there any use of a Hebrew word meaning "to know" that is used in any place the way I'm trying to prove Paul uses "foreknow"? Is this how he finds justification for his theology? Hello!?!

He finds some! Jer 1:5, Exodus 33:17. He goes on in an attempt to build a case that knowing equals choosing by using Amos 3:2. He states:

"Here the NASB actually translates yada as "chosen," so strongly is this element found in the context of this passage." 
He goes on to talk about how Adam "knew" his wife, noting the result was a child... 
"Therefore the use of the verbal concept of "foreknowing" in the New Testament, together with these testimonies from the Old Testament, are more than sufficient basis for asserting that when Paul says "and those whom He foreknew" Paul is speaking about an action on God's part that is just as solitary, just as God-centered, and just as personal as ever other action in the string..."
After going off on Dr. Geisler for using the Apostle John to explain how the Apostle John uses the word "draw" in the very same book, in VERY similar context THIS is Dr. White's argument for his redefinition of the word "foreknow"? Thayer says it means "to have knowledge before hand." I think I'll go with the Grammatical-Historical Hermeneutic on this.  How exactly does this fly as "exegesis" in Dr. White's circles?

The word means to have knowledge before hand. The rest of the chapter is filled with calling Dr. Geisler's view "Arminian" and then baiting the reader to keep going because the next chapter will be about a "key passage" Romans 9.

What can I say? I've been studying Dr. White's work months now, since June, and I've been studying it deeply. He has yet to be correct in even a single argument. I had expected to find more agreement with the man than this. Next time we'll look at Romans 9. I won't be doing a paragraph by paragraph review. I'll present Dr. White's argument in simplified form and then go through the Scripture to see if it lines up or not.